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We've had our Shih Tzu dog for 3 and a half months and decided to take him in for grooming haircut and bath. Apparently the previous owners did have him clipped so this wasn't his first haircut? He was lightly matted, I was brushing him and using a matting comb but his fur was getting too dense so figure it was best to take him in? When we went to pick him up we were so happy to see him yet, horrified to see a brush cut all over. 3\4 of him is gone, and he is so upset, all he does is scratch, doesn't want to go outside, or hardly play and sleeps most of the time and seems to be depressed.. He keeps scratching his butt area as well so I think they got too close so I'm keeping an eye on that as well. When I go to lightly comb his face, he is fidgety and won't let me touch him? My husband told them specifically what he wanted them to do, but they didn't follow instructions, so do groomers automatically take it upon themselves to do what they want? It's cool outside with snow, and most of his coat is gone? I wonder if that is why he doesn't want to go outside? I've always clipped our past dogs and I never would go that short.
My husband said he signed something when he picked him up but wasn't sure what he signed? I'm wondering if he was yelled at or mistreated, I don't know, maybe the surroundings and the sound of the clipper scared him? Please tell me how it works at these groomers so this never happens again?
 

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Some groomers are good, some are excellent, some are mediocre at best, and some are down right lousy. Some are good with handling dogs, and some aren't. Without actually being there, it's hard to say what the groomer's competency level was. However, if he was matted, then they might have had to take him down shorter than they would have otherwise. Heaven knows that I wound up shaving dogs down once I had my hands on them, instead of the "give a good brushing and cut out a few mats before bathing them" that was originally intended back when I worked at a vet clinic.

Even if his previous owners had him groomed, that doesn't mean that he enjoyed it, or was even used to it. The noise and feeling of clippers and blow dryers could have ben traumatic every single time he'd been groomed.
 
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Agree with LeoRose - sometimes when a dog's matted enough, it's borderline cruel to actually try to comb out all the mats, and just shaving the dog down is the kindest thing you can do. This is especially true if you have a dog who's already uncomfortable or stressed by grooming, because it's a much shorter and less painful process. Now the groomer should've told you this, either when you dropped off or picked up, no questions there. If you're not happy with their communication absolutely find somewhere else! Communication is so important in these professions, and makes a bid difference between a bad experience like you had and being disappointed but reassured that your groomer has your dog's best interest in mind.

He could be freaked out because his short coat feels very different than what he's used to, especially if any of the mats were close enough to be tugging at his skin. He may be stressed out because he's not used to grooming and was overwhelmed or frightened by the whole process. Or he may have been roughly handled. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when I can, so I wouldn't assume that they were deliberately mistreating him, especially because it's next to impossible to be sure exactly what caused the behavior. Most dogs need lots of training and exposure to be super comfortable with grooming, so it's very common that going to a groomer is a stressful, uncomfortable experience.

The scratching may be due to the sanitary (what the short trim around the butt and genitals is called) being too short and causing a little razor burn, or just because it feels weird, or even because there was a mat there that was tugging on his skin and getting it off made it a little irritated. My poodle gets razor burn very easily, so I've had to stop using the super super short blades on his face and feet (I'm not a professional, I just groom my two boys myself), so some dogs are definitely more prone to irritation from clippers, even if the person handling the tools does everything 'right'. Keep an eye on it, as you are, and see if there's any obvious reddish skin irritation that appears over the next day or two. But it generally calms down pretty quickly in my experience.

Just give him time and keep things low-stress at home until he settles. If he'll accept it, a doggy coat may help him feel better outside. My poodle wears one because, well, we're in Norway. If I didn't cut his fur all winter he'd be an unmanageable shaggy mess. He also has a terrible coat that gets soaked through in an eyeblink and does little to insulate him - not anything like what a poodle coat is supposed to be - so a coat it is.
 

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Yes, it's hard to say what went down without being there? Before the clipping, he was so calm when I would brush and de matt him, it's like he knew and would roll over for me back and forth without even being asked, he loved his grooming time. While he did have a few matts, it wasn't all over, but his coat was very dense right from the scalp, Maybe they had a problem with that? Is there any such procedure to thin their coats out instead of shaving right down, he is the cutest with his long coat and I would love for him to keep it, but it's just too thick to keep long?
 

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I used to clip our dogs of the past on my own, a shih tzu and 2 cockapoos They had clippings 4 times a year to keep their hair matt free but it took me lots of time, first came cutting away matts and then clipping one section at a time? The average time when I would do it was all day and sometimes finishing on the next. Come to think of it all my dogs were very co-operative, making it possible for me to do it? Well, maybe I will go back to clipping this one too, but will do it before his coat gets too long.
 

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If it was too dense to get a comb through easily, I could see that being why they chose to clip him. Obviously it's all speculation, and I don't mean to downplay their lack of communication, because that IS for sure a problem.

My understanding is that dogs with hair coats don't really have an easy way to 'thin' the hair, because there's really no undercoat to take out (well, sometimes there is with mixes), and it would look strange and raggedy to thin the way you can with double coated dogs. You can use a dematting tool to handle the occasional tough spot, but it does still cut the hair in order to loosen up the mat, and it's not super practical or comfortable to have to do that over the whole dog. Most poodle people (the hair breed I'm most familiar with, Lagotti aren't kept as long typically) recommend line brushing - that's where you section out the hair, part it down to the skin, and comb or brush each section from the skin out. It's labor intensive but really effective at keeping longer coats from matting or impacting with dead hair. So long as you do it regularly. A good conditioner and detangling spray are also useful for this.

Part of the reason I groom the boys myself (aside from the cost) is that I can give them breaks and be sure that I'm using the handling methods that they're most comfortable with. I also know if anything goes wrong (usually just quicking a nail, in my case - I've gotten better over the years but they both have dark nails and it still happens sometimes). I've heard some groomers say that some dogs are the opposite - much better behaved and calmer when their owners aren't present - so it depends a bit on the dog and owner, too. I prefer to do smaller grooming sessions more often, to try to avoid the mats entirely and keep the fur at a more manageable length, with regular brushing in between. But I'm not great at keeping to a strict schedule, so I do sometimes just have to cut them down short and let it grow back in to the length I prefer because I've let it get away from me.
 
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